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Photograph of forms applied to repair a cracked concrete foundation wall.Foundation Repair Method FAQs
Questions & Answers about Foundation Repairs

  • FOUNDATION REPAIR METHOD FAQs- CONTENTS: questions & answers about Repair Methods and Products for Damaged Foundations, walls, & slabs. Photographs of foundation crack patterns used for foundation crack diagnosis
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about foundation repair methods and procedures: repairs to foundation cracks, gaps, movement, tipping, leaning, settlement, or footing damage
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Questions & answers about foundation damage repair methods for bowing, cracking, leaning, settling or other types of foundation damage:

These foundation repair questions and answers help understand three foundation repair topics: the proper approach to diagnosing the cause and effects of foundation damage: the two first steps in deciding on item three, the proper foundation repair method.

This article series discusses How to Repair Damaged Foundations, Foundation Cracks, Slab Cracks, Bowed, Buckled, Leaning Foundation Walls, Settled Floors.



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Foundation Damage or Crack Repair FAQs

Photograph of a classic shrinkage crack in poured concrete.

Question: slab is low in some spots

(Apr 1, 2015) scott kramer said:
I don't have bulging foundation walls, but I have a slab that's a couple inches lower in spots and I would like to know if I must use piering - or whether some of the polyurethane injection methods can work.

The tv commercials I've seen seem a bit misleading, and I want to know if I can raise a slab for less money putting piers around the slab. Half the house is basement/half is slab. there is NO leaking in the half basement. again, the slab has sunk a couple of inches and i'm looking for any answers. thanks -

[Click to enlarge any image]

Reply:

Sure, Scott, there are slab-jacking methods that use both a hydraulic pumping system and alternatively piers inserted through the slab itself.

But I would not recommend any injection method nor any other repair before we have a credible diagnosis on the cause of the problem. It's understanding the cause that dictates the remedy.

The fact that there's no water entry is encouraging. But still you need an on-site consult with an foundation expert or an engineer who has expertise in residential slabs and site conditions such as yours before you can specify a repair.

See SLAB CRACK EVALUATION

then see choices at FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS - home

Question: crack in poured concrete basement walls

(Aug 11, 2015) JP said:
looking at a house with a concrete poured basement with crack running across middle and slight bowing in upper levels floor. The exterior left corner (brick wall) shows cracking and appears to have movement this past year discerned by being painted within year and now areas devoid of paint. however the gutter was draining at the corner and soil has eroded. Could this be the culprit? Would this effect the middle of a room?

I have had a general house inspection and am in process of securing an engineering inspection. However, I'm trying to do a little leg work and get a ball park idea in my mind of possible root cause, solutions and costs....obviously cost and did I say costs? I want to make a sound not an emotional decision (okay, I want to make an emotional one but need to make a sound one). Please advise.

Reply:

JP you need to diagnose the cause of cracking, the extent of impact on structure, and then to decide on the appropriate repair.

See FOUNDATION DAMAGE & REPAIR GUIDE - home

Question: sealing basement floor cracks against radon

(Oct 16, 2015) Anonymous said:
My basement radon level is high, I found cracks on floor of basement, could you tell me:
Loctite PL 10 fl. oz. Polyurethane Concrete Crack and Masonry Sealant (Model # 1618522) can sealed cracks in my basement? (my basement just have 1 small window) .

Reply:

Anon

Searching InspectApedia.com for "how to reduce radon" gives several excellent articles including

inspectapedia.com/BestPractices/Radon_Mitigation_Guide.php

besides using the sealant you describe on cracks - which may be fine - you'll want to take a bit of a more complete view of the topic.

Question: cracks in brick wall structure in Philadelphia

(Nov 20, 2015) Dave said:
I recently bought a 3 story end unit row home in Philly. The walls are thick brick and rubble construction and are the bearing wall. The house has settled 6" at the front along the common wall. There are signs of recent repairs but also recent cracks in those repairs so I feel the house is still settling. The rear of the house is slab on grade and for the most part is fine. I have read that installing piers is the best method for stabilizing but I have 2 questions... 1) Can piers be installed from the inside of the house or does it require large equipment that would need exterior access which isn't possible due to it being the common wall? 2) Could I install a reinforced slab floor tied into the existing footing that would help distribute the weight of the wall?

Reply:

Dave piers can be installed from either side of the supporting wall and for the case you describe I expect the contractor will work in the basement.

But I would be very concerned about an immediate danger of catastrophic building collapse. 6" of movement in a structural-brick building is enormous. The risk is that bond courses and other connectors that made the original structure sound have been broken by movement. The entire facade or a side wall or even internal floors could collapse.

My advice is to have an immediate evaluation by an expert in old structural masonry buildings, and if there is sign of instability to get everyone out and out of the way.

Question: leaning gate pillar wall in Sri Lanka

(Jan 4, 2016) Leo Fernando said:
Dear Sir,
Kindly advice me how I should repair my leaning gate pillar cum wall.
I observed a few months back that the gate pillar foundation has leaned.Could be due to the drain 3 feet away by the road side.There is water only during rainy days.Now it is dry.The parapet wall foundation is over 60 years old.Renovated 15 years ago. Wall height is 6 feet, Gate pillars 20in square and a 4 inch thick horizontal beam runs at height of 3 feet along the entire length of the wall 20 feet.Each side has two brick columns supporting the wall.The entire wall is in good shape.My concern is the slight leaning of one gate pillar.
I shall be grateful if you could help me to stop the leaning of he pillar further.
Many Thanks
Best Regards
Leo Fernando
Sri Lanka.

E-mail: leopaul@eureka.lk

Reply:

Leo

I agree that diagnosing the cause for leaning is a critical step in repair. Sometimes it's possible to push a wall upright, and on occasion a foundation expert can repair a tipping footing or foundation by adding a driven pier or helical pier - a less expensive repair than rebuilding the wall and its foundation. If no one in your area provides driven piers you might still invent a do-it-yourself version by reading about how driven piers are made, driven, and then bolted or fastened to the wall or footing.

See inspectapedia.com/structure/Vertical_Foundation_Movement_Repair.php

Question: bad ground floor pillars

(Apr 15, 2016) elias said:
I built my house since 5 hears I saw the ground floor pillar are bad

Reply:

Elias

You'll want help from an onsite expert to figure out what's wrong, why it happened, what has been the effect on the structure, and then what repairs are wanted.

Question: rusting iron re-bar

(May 1, 2016) M.vijay said:
Dear sir. In the foundation pillar they have attached iron rods for level marking. It is outside the pillar which directly expose to the soil below tweet from the ground level. Whether the iron rod 8mm will rust and the rod is connected to the pillar rods too.

So it may affect the foundation pillar rod and whether they will create any crack in foundation pillar.

Reply:

Yes M. Vijay, in some circumstances rusting steel inside of masonry walls, piers, or pillars can cause cracking and damage.

Question: buying a cheap fixer-upper with a moldy crawl space

(June 17, 2016) Mike knows nothing said:

Hi. First time home buyer and there's a cheap house on the market bit of a fixer upper the crawl space smells mildewy and a bit mouldy it appears as though it was built on the ground with seemingly no vapour barrier or ventilation, now I'm wondering if a pier and beam structure can be repaired on the house without attempting to lift it off its foundation I'm pretty sure the joists can be replaced if I'm not mistaken.

Also I wonder if I can just put a dehumidifier in the crawl space and perhaps delay the problem while building up my own financial situation.
Ps there is no excess runoff water going into the space just general moisture from the surrounding ground from over the years I suspect(I live in a marshy area)

Reply:

Mike,

If you smell mould, there's mould. You don't know how much cleaning is needed, how much structural damage needs repair, the cost to perform those tasks, and the cost to find and correct the causes of the mould until a more thorough inspection has been performed by a competent expert who is working for you, not the seller and not the realtor.

Any repairs are technically possible; the salient question is what will be the cost.

Dehumidifying the crawl area is probably good for the structure but won't fix anything and will often temporarily increase he hazard of airborne mold.

The ultimate question is whether the total cost of all of the repairs needed to make the home safe, functional, habitable, added to the purchase price, place the cost of the home too far out of its value in the market place.

Question: push back a bulged concrete block foundation wall?

Fayfer said:
Our home has 3 different sections of Foundation - old 80-year-old limestone, cinderblock, and poured concrete. On one 6-foot stretch where the cinderblocks were placed on top of existing limestone, the wall has bowed inward 8 inches and is no longer supporting the floor joists. Replace the 6 foot section, or try to push it back with steel beams?

Reply:

There is in my opinion no chance of successfully "pushing back" into place a block wall that has bulged or bowed inwards 8";

You probably need to re-build the wall or to build a structural wall, properly secured to the earth outside with anchors in front of the bowed wall. I don't like that add-on approach as it leaves floor framing at risk of future rot or insect attack while being in essence inaccessible.

You cannot decide this question by e-text; an onsite expert is needed to understand cause, effects, and thus reasonable cure.

Question: cracking in San Diego condominium

(Oct 7, 2016) MarcosC said:
Hi,
Great site!
We recently bought a condo in San Diego, CA. This condo was built in the 70's. When we purchased, we noticed a few cracked tiles and separated tiles that ran across the entire living room area. We've been remodeling and have removed the old tiles and can now clearly see a crack in the concrete floor that runs across the living room (from wall to wall). It is wider and narrower at some points (1/8" to 3/8") at the top.

The crack runs in what I can best describe as a 'lightning bolt' figure - not straight, does not completely loop back but does run in generally the same direction. There clearly is a level difference from one side of the crack to the other. The one side seems to "fall off" and is lower and lower the farther from the crack you go.

What can you tell me about this? Is this something we can buy a DIY kit and repair ourselves? Should we get a professional?
Thank you.

This question appeared originally at SETTLEMENT CRACKS in SLABS

Reply:

Marcos

Non-structural cracks in a residential property are typically simply filled with a sealant, but some diagnosis is needed first lest we miss a more important underlying problem.

Please take a look at the general foundation cracking and damage assessment guides listed below at Building Foundation or Floor or Slab Crack, Damage, or Movement Assessment

Separately at see FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS - home you'll find articles about repairing cracks with sealants and also about using epoxies that can even handle certain types of structural damage.

Building Foundation or Floor or Slab Crack, Damage, or Movement Assessment

To understand the cause, effect, and remedy for all types of building foundation or masonry wall damage or movement we have categorized foundation damage into these broad categories:

  1. FOUNDATION FAILURES by MOVEMENT TYPE: is the movement active or not, how is the foundation moving: bulging, leaning, settling, etc. ?
  2. FOUNDATION FAILURES by TYPE & MATERIAL: how does damage show up in different types of foundation material & what are the implications for collapse risk or repair need?
  3. FOUNDATION CRACK DICTIONARY, what is the severity of foundation damage, what is its effect on the stability of the structure, and how urgently are foundation repairs needed?
  4. FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS discusses alternative ways to fix a damaged foundation or floor slab crack or movement

...


Continue reading at FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES.

Or see BULGED FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS

Or see FOUNDATION BULGE or LEAN MEASUREMENTS

Or see FOUNDATION CRACK DICTIONARY

Or see SETTLEMENT CRACKS in SLABS

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FOUNDATION REPAIR METHOD FAQs at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to BUILDING STRUCTURES

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